Professor Yemi Osinbanjo says the Buhari-led government will not sweep issues majors underlying the Southern Kaduna conflict under the carpet.
To this, he said the administration will work on “ensuring justice, fixing economic marginalization and the prosecution of persons responsible for these murders -this is to ensure that the impunity doesn’t worsen.”
He said this while speaking at the ongoing Nigeria Bar Association Annual General Conference during a Special Conversation featuring him and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
Osibanjo, speaking on the way forward for the crises, referenced his personal experience. He said “I have been involved since 2001 through the work of the Macedonian initiative, an NGO that focused on providing relief materials to displaced persons in Southern Kaduna and several other places especially in North Central part of Nigeria. There have been judicial commissions and all sorts, but the problem remains. So, there is the need to address the underlying issues. You can’t sweep under the carpet, justice and the cries of economic marginalization.
“The fact is that we must prosecute persons responsible for these murders or otherwise impunity will worsen. And also support those who have lost their bread winners.”
He added that “the mindless callous killings in Southern Kaduna are heartbreaking. And again we must condole those who have lost loved ones and those injured or who have suffered loss of property. These tragedies are unacceptable and they are avoidable.”
On what the government is doing, he said
“First is the improvement of security in Southern Kaduna. Now, we have a military base there, for the first time. We also have a lot of Air Force surveillance.
“We have about 500 conventional and Mobile Policemen in Zangon-Kataff and Kaura Local Government Areas and then the combined military team of the Army and the Navy who are also on ground 24 hours. This is basically to just take care of the volatile situation there.”
Continuing, the Vice President said “the President has also had several Security Council meetings and I have attended all of those, where the issues were discussed and the possibilities of engagement have also been discussed.”
The VP, on a personal note said “I have also engaged with community leaders in Southern Kaduna and also I have engaged with the governor to look at what peacemaking efforts are possible.”
The Vice President expressed optimism that the issues would be resolved noting that “some of the peacemaking efforts have been fairly successful” as recent peace efforts between the Zangon-Kataff and the Fulani communities would yield positive results.
He said “but there is also a lot of work going on to ensure that some of these fundamental issues are being addressed and it’s an evolving situation, but it’s something we can’t afford to ignore and it’s gone on for far too long and it’s redressable and possible for us to resolve.”